Daniel & Laura Markum, Local Business Owners, Persevering Through Challenges of Pandemic
There’s simply no holding back the creative mind.
And when there’s two such minds working together – as in the case of Daniel and Laura Markum of DeSoto – even something as serious as the COVID-19 pandemic can’t stand in their way.
“I’ve always been on the more artistic side. My mom taught me to paint, and I also love to draw and write,” Laura said. “I’m really visual, and I try to bring that into my gardening too, from the way I design the space to the varieties of vegetables I grow. One of my goals is to provide a really colorful and visually appealing produce box that is not only super good for you but also beautiful.
“Besides that, I remember as a kid always trying to think up ways I could build things or create things out of what I had handy, so I think that’s made me pretty resourceful. That helps a lot with coming up with solutions on the farm.”
Talent + Determination & Creativity
As for Daniel?
“I’ve always been a creative person. As a kid I grew up around music. My dad played bass at church and I learned guitar and bass from him at age 11,” he said. “My aunt was an art teacher, so I would take painting classes every summer growing up.
“I started leading worship in high school (2004-2008) and carried that on in some fashion until 2016. I picked up piano in college as well. I also played djembe at church off and on. I play bit of harmonica as well.”
In other words, the Markums, both age 31, are a couple of really talented and equally determined folks. Among their skills are a history of renovating homes. Most recently, Daniel started his own handyman business in 2018, and Laura is in the process of starting a market/garden business on their one-acre plot.
Daniel’s business has grown despite the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic. He hired an employee in 2020 and added a second in 2021. In addition, he is working through having asthma as well as taking care of an elderly grandmother.
“We took two months off during the initial lock down even though I am considered essential. I didn’t get any calls for work the entire two months. When we decided to start back up the calls somehow started coming in,” he said. “I feel like God let us take that break, then brought us work when we were ready. We also used those two months to build infrastructure at our farm that my wife runs.”
The Beginning of Yellow Bird Farm
Laura said the idea for a garden/market business came to her when they moved into their current house in 2019 – the same house her grandfather built from scratch in the mid-1970s.
“I started a small garden with the hope of eventually selling produce, but when the shutdown started we were both home full-time, so we took that as an opportunity to expand the garden sooner than expected,” she said. “This summer I’m doing a sort of soft opening while I work on the farm’s infrastructure, and I plan to be fully operational next spring.
“Since I’m in the beginning stages, I’ve been able to take COVID into account when planning the business and how it will run. Signups will mostly be online, and distribution can easily be done adhering to social distancing guidelines.”
This is the first time for either to go into business for themselves. But with both being dreamers – and let’s not forget talented and persistent – they didn’t hesitate to venture forth bravely.
“I’ve always had a garden, but this is the first time I’ll be doing it as a full-time business,” Laura said. “We’ve raised and sold sheep and goats as well as kept chickens, but I think the garden is really my sweet spot.”
Daniel has done plenty of odd jobs here and there on the side, then it hit him that he could make his living doing these. Of course, their aforementioned history of renovating houses has helped.
Making Old Things New Again
“We took an old barn with dirt floors and tin walls and totally built it up into a home. We learned a lot about construction in that build,” Daniel recalled. “My dad had a key role in showing us and helping us along the way.
“We have always had unique fixer-uppers, that had just sort of fallen into our laps for one reason or another, so they have not been the traditional buy a fixer-upper and flip it. Yes we do love the challenge. It’s a lot of late nights, but the reward is in the moment you complete a project and can stand back and take it all in.
“That’s what I live for. The artist inside me beams when we take something old and unsightly and make it beautiful.”
Daniel are both native North Texans. They have four children. Two boys and two girls, and like their own parents, they are an inspiration to their children with their creativity.
“My mom was always fixing up our house when I was growing up. She always had – and still has – some mural or home improvement project going on,” Laura said. “She’s a huge inspiration to me. I also remember my parents building bunk beds for my brothers, and we built our dining room table together.”
Daniel added, “My mom used to paint and my dad had a paint and body shop where we would fix and paint cars. This was the first glimpse of ‘taking the old and making it new’ feeling that I’ve been chasing ever since.”